Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club has named Nyzia Vaughan and Leybis Villatoro as the December Youth of the Month.
Vaughan is 16 and in the 11th grade at Glen Cove High School. She excels in English and is in an English honors class. She enjoys reading, both for school and for pleasure. Vaughan credits GBGC associate director Desirae O’Neill and interim teen program director Breanna Townsell with her determination to pursue a post high school and post graduate education.
“I have watched Ms. Desirae and Ms. Breanna work so hard towards receiving their graduate degrees and I admire that. They have both been great role models for me,” said Vaughan, who has been a member of the club for 10 years after enrolling in the club’s summer program. “There is so much I get from coming to the club. For me it is not just a place to go after school, but so much more. I feel that I have become a part of something by being a part of the club.”
Her positive experiences influenced Vaughan to participate in the club’s Summer Youth Employment workshops and apply for a group leader position in the club’s summer program. “It was really fun, I found it to be a great learning experience to go through the program from start to finish and work for the club as a group leader.”
In addition to working hard at school and participating at the club, Vaughan also enjoys singing. She actively sings in the club’s recording studio and is in Glen Cove High School’s elite Select Chorale. The choir recently went to Rome to perform for the Pope at the Vatican, the only group leading the entire Papal mass in Latin.
Leybis Villatoro is 9 years old and in the second grade at Deasy Elementary School. His favorite subject is math and he hopes to become a police officer when he grows up, just like Officer D. J. Martone. Officer Martone is among a group of Glen Cove police officers who check in on schools and after school youth organizations on a daily basis to ensure the safety of the children of the Glen Cove community.
“I want to be like Officer Martone and help people and save lives and I also want to visit schools to encourage kids to do the right thing,” said Villatoro, who participates in the club’s Snacks with Officer Jack, a program cultivating positive communication between kids and police officers.
Villatoro, who started attending the club at the beginning of this school year, loves being a part of the club. “This is my favorite place. I can do projects, play soccer, basketball and baseball in the gym and play on the computer. I have made a lot of friends and everyone is so nice, especially Mr. Jahrae (O’Neill), who always helps me. The club teaches you how important it is to treat other people the way we want to be treated.”